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EFCC Arraigns Five Port Harcourt Club’s Officers For N10m Fraud

The Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC,  has arraigned a former President of  Port Harcourt Club 1928,  Chief Diamond Tobin- West; four other officers: Chief Morrison Ifeanyi Asimole;  Telema Osazuwa;  Christian Kenechukwu Okoli, Tonye Azike and a firm,  Afro- Rivers Nigeria Limited, before Justice P.I.  Ajoku   of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt,  River State,  for conspiracy and money laundering to  the tune  of N10.170 million.

The six suspects were arraigned on Thursday, 24 June, 2021, on 18- count charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended. 

Count two of the charges read: “That you, Chief Diamond Tobin- West,  Chief Morrison Ifeanyi Asimole and Telema Osazuwa,  while acting in your capacities as Officers of Port Harcourt Club  1928,  on 12th day of February,  2018,  in conjunction with Afro- Rivers Nigeria Limited,  at Port- Harcourt,  in Rivers State,  within the jurisdiction of this court,  directly and indirectly took possession of the sum of One Million,  Two Hundred Thousand Naira( N1, 200, 000.00), money which to your knowledge formed part of proceed of unlawful act,  and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act,  2011 as amended”

Count  ten reads:”That you, Chief Diamond Tobin- West,  Chief Morrison Ifeanyi Asimole and Telema Osazuwa,  while acting in your capacities as Officers of Port Harcourt Club  1928,  on the 13th day of November,  2019,   in conjunction with Afro- Rivers Nigeria Limited,  at Port- Harcourt,  in Rivers State,  within the jurisdiction of this court,  directly and indirectly took possession of the sum of One Million,  Sixty- Two Thousand,  One Hundred and Twenty Naira(  N1, 062, 120. 00),   money which to your knowledge formed part of proceed of unlawful act,  and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act,  2011 as amended.”

They all pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges preferred against them.

Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, S.M.H Ibekwute told the court that he was ready for trial and prayed that the suspects be remanded in a Correctional Facility.  However, counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 5th defendants: R. Wanogor pleaded that his clients be admitted to bail on terms of an earlier administrative bail offered them by the EFCC.  He informed the court that he had a short notice to file a bail application for his clients and sued for an oral consideration of bail.  Counsel for the 4th defendant,  M.O Azike and counsel for the 3rd and 6th defendants,  B.C Egbe adopted the position of Wanogor and prayed the court to admit their clients to bail.

Justice Ajoku, after listening to the submissions of the prosecution and defence counsel,  adjourned the matter till July 12,  2021 for  consideration of bail applications and remanded the defendants in EFCC’s custody.

Troubles started for the defendants, who were executive members of the immediate past Management Committee of Port Harcourt Club 1928, when a petitioner alleged that they embezzled and diverted the Club’s funds for their personal uses.

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